SOCIAL MEDIA MISTAKES THAT ARTISANS SHOULD AVOID
1. Seeing social media marketing as the foundation of business success
Our lives have come saturated by digital technology. Many stakeholders, marketing professionals and advertising houses have proclaimed that social media marketing is the be-all and end-all for making small businesses flourish. Today people see it as the equalizer that can put small business on equal footing with large enterprises. It is not. In fact, the stakeholder induced frenzy over social media can hinder artisans to reach their full revenue potential.
In his book Twitter is Not a Strategy world class marketing expert Tom Doctoroff argues that the recent digital and social media madness has created confusion in the business world. Using marketing juggernauts like Coca Cola and Apple as examples, he explains why a strategy that integrates both traditional and digital marketing leads to best results. Digital marketing, including social media, will not work without the traditional foundations.
This is not surprising. Social media are only one of many components of digital marketing. Others are SEO, content marketing and online advertising, to name a few. Digital marketing is just one component of promotion, which also includes public relations, personal selling, advertising and others. Promotion is merely one part of a marketing strategy. Other aspects are, among others, mission statement, messaging, goal setting and customer management. In the end, the weight of social media in the overall strategy of an artisan business might become less than 5 percent.
Before even embarking on any kind of social media tactics, artisans need to build their marketing plan. This should include a description of the vision and mission of your business, the business’ strengths and weaknesses, customer profiles, messaging, business goals, pricing, distribution channels, and sales. Only when these are in place is it worthwhile to consider investing time and money into social media marketing.
2. Presuming that social media marketing is easy
Social media marketing takes time, skill and resources. Outsourcing to experts costs $500-$1000 per month for the most basic campaign.
Many makers resort to the d.i.y. approach to reduce cost. Being self sufficient, however, requires that you learn how to build a social media campaign, identify the right channels and master some of the the social media tools (Hootsuite, Sprout, Buffer) needed to implement tactics efficiently.
Consider investing at least 10 hours/week at the beginning, during your learning curve, and 5+ hours of focussed work once you have honed your skills. In conjunction with your time you should also plan to invest $30 - $50 per month for your tools, which is in addition to your (ad) placement expenses.
“Social media isn’t something you can “turn on” and expect to start seeing an increase in revenue or conversions. It takes time and effort to build a successful social media presence; you need to have a thorough understanding of your target market, you need to carefully craft your messaging and time your posts adeptly, and on top of that, you need to be active consistently, engaging with your audience, sometimes for months or years, before you see a return on the investment.”
3. Ignoring your followers
Social media are not one-way tools. Their main benefits come from the interaction of their users. As a maker this enables you to connect with current or future buyers of your products.
It also means your followers expect you to interact with them. If your communication is infrequent or stale they will lose interest and turn their attention to other, more active makers. Keep in mind your followers want a response within hours, definitely not later than within 24 hours. With some planning, this is very doable. No one will demand of you to write an in-depth exposé in reply to a question or comment. A sentence or two, even a few words of appreciation, will be sufficient.
4. Not dealing with negative comments
When customers contact a business on social media almost 50% of them do so to deal with a problem. Makers need to be prepared for that. Shoppers want quick, helpful and friendly responses to their queries.
Carl Henderson, Social Media & Content Marketing Manager for Salesforce, suggest this approach to dealing with negative comments:
· Monitor your feeds consistently to find and react quickly to negative comments.
· Acknowledge the concern
· Make the effort to understand the concern, step into the customer’s shoes
· Move the discussion out of the ‘public’ domain with direct messaging or email. A phone is the best and most effective approach.
· IF you are at fault, which happens even to the best, apologize, and make amends
· Confirm the customer is happy with the resolution of their concern
· IF you are NOT at fault, and plainly being trolled, provide the correct information concisely and clearly. Then put the grouch on ‘ignore’.
Conflict resolution is important and a distinct advantage of using social media. There is great benefit for makers in developing the skills to do so. Entrepreneur and author Jim Rohn expressed this quite succinctly:
“One customer well taken care of could be more valuable than $10000 worth of advertising”
In summary, social media marketing can be useful for artisans to drive sales. But it needs to be built on established, classic marketing principles. It also must be implemented well. It is not - and never will be - a magic wand for instant success.